As technology advances in medicine, the ability to reach a wider audience is more important than ever. Access to accurate, reliable, and easy-to-use devices can help keep those we care about healthy. This in turn can keep people in their homes, active, and living long and meaningful lives.
The Bobo Balance Board and Bobo Pro 2.0 can do just that. This is a product created by a physical therapist out of Israel with a focus on developing a device that allows a user to address balance and strength deficits on their own time.
This article aims to give a detailed review by a licensed physical therapist of the Bobo Balance Board currently in the market and the Bobo Pro 2.0 to be used by rehab professionals.
This review will highlight the similarities between the two products before discussing each of the board’s features.
Within the shipment, I received two packages, a Bobo Balance Board already in the market along with a Bobo Pro 2.0 with the full rollout of this product beginning in June 2022. Both boards come in a black box with distinctive, striking neon coloring that stands out against the black background.
Upon opening the packaging, the balance boards are found inside along with several other items: a balance disc is commonly seen in most rehab clinics along with an air pump, a phone/tablet stand, and an instruction manual.
With the Bobo Pro 2.0, there are several straps included assisting with other higher-level activities such as strength/flexibility and cycling which will be addressed later in the review. There is also a metal piece the size of a socket wrench bolt to allow for the board to hang on a wall for storage.
There is minimal packaging and items which is beneficial to the user as they do not have to sort out what is needed and what is not to avoid confusion. One point of distinction is that the Bobo balance board is circular whereas the Bobo Pro 2.0 is more of an oval shape, designed to show where the user’s feet are to be placed.
The boards are made of wood and are encased in durable plastic with a non-skid surface on the outside. The Bobo Home board is 15 inches in diameter while the Bobo Pro 2.0 is 19.6 by 13.7 inches.
They are very lightweight (3 lbs.) with an easy-to-use handle for the Bobo Balance board. According to the website, the board has a weight limit of 450 pounds, allowing for nearly any person to use the device safely.
For the Bobo Pro 2.0, at the top is a hole that allows a finger to easily slide through to pick up and also hang on the wall. Users of any age can pick up the board and move it to wherever they wish to use the product without causing injury to themselves when picking up the board.
The design of each board is crisp; nothing about it looks cheap or rushed. The pamphlet inside was visually engaging and easy to read. There isn’t a ton of information, but only what is necessary to set up and use the boards.
To use the board, the Bobo home app for both programs is required to be downloaded. For the Bobo Balance board, the Bobo Home app is required. For the Bobo Balance Board Pro 2.0, the Bobo Pro 2.0 is required. Please note, that there is a distinct difference between the two in the App Store on Apple and on the Google Play store.
To note, the boards are not compatible with Amazon Fire Tablets despite it being an Android tablets as the app is currently not on their store. Users must ensure that they have a compatible Apple or Android tablet before purchasing this product.
Once the app is downloaded, Bluetooth must be turned on in order to pair with the device. A button in the middle of each board that the user pushes begins blinking yellow before switching to blue as it searches for a signal. Once it connects, it flashes green signaling a connection. To disconnect, hold the button down until it flashes red twice and shuts off. To conserve the battery, Bobo also shuts off automatically when it is not used for 10 minutes or when the app is closed.
There do not appear to be many limitations regarding the ability to pair the device or special codes to enter in order to begin use. Once the phone/tablet and board are paired, the Bobo boards are ready to use.
For the Bobo Pro 2.0, the user must sign up for an account and enter the number on the back of the disc to register. This whole process takes only a minute to complete. When initially using the balance board, it can be placed on the enclosed balance disc in the Bobo Home or any balance disc. The Bobo Pro 2.0 does not come with a balance disc. It can also be placed on an uneven surface such as a pillow or cushion for greater stability.
Depending on the needs of the person, a stable surface to hold onto is recommended when mounting and dismounting the Bobo balance board to prevent any sudden loss of balance. The board does have a non-skid surface to allow the user to stand on with shoes so as not to slip. As a PT, I would recommend wearing a non-skid sole to prevent any sliding.
Bobo Home App
Once paired, this is where the main differences between the Bobo Balance Board and the Bobo Pro 2.0 differ. To help differentiate between the two boards, the Bobo Home app will be reviewed in this section followed by a separate review for the Bobo Pro 2.0 later in the article.
Upon starting the program for the Bobo Home App, there are options for rehab programs, games, or training that challenge the ankle, hip, and knee. There are timed programs that allow for regular workouts, joint-specific programs, and 11 different games that users can play without feeling like they are working out.
Diving into the rehab programs, the user can select which lower extremity joint they would like to address with varying levels of difficulty. These can be simple programs to work on balance-related to strength and proprioception, or they can be used in post-injury/post-surgical rehabilitation.
The levels of difficulty allow the user to choose the starting point most appropriate for them so they do not suffer further injury or become frustrated due to difficulty. Within the program, there are varying shapes that a white dot must stay within or in line with during the duration of the activity. Following the completion of the activity, a numerical score is given, identifying how successful the user was in the task.
The programs are very simple to work through and have minimal interaction with the screen required. There is the natural start and stop points for the user to take a break or reset if they need to before beginning the next activity.
Performing these activities as an overall healthy individual, there was noted difficulty in performing exercises. This isn’t implying using the board itself was difficult, but the program was challenging and engaging like any other exercise. The board is exceptional in giving immediate feedback to allow the user to adjust their balance to stay within the boundaries seen on the screen.
I performed a pre-programmed rehab session that was 10 minutes in length and felt as though I was working out despite not dealing with injuries. By the end, my ankles, calves, and knees were fatigued and I constantly moved all parts of my body in performing the activities. During the session, the user receives feedback after each challenge identifying how well they did with a percentage of accuracy and words of encouragement.
At the end of the session, the program gives you a breakdown of your overall performance, the level of difficulty, and the differences between right and left.
The 11 games loaded on the app are also easy to use, not designed to spend a lot of time setting the user up or learning how to begin playing. There is snowboarding, submarine, and mini-golf, among other arcade games that allow the user to keep score but minimize having to interact with the screen so as to prevent loss of balance.
These games are simple enough that I had my four-year-old son helping me test the product with supervision. He loved the games and did not struggle to find what he wanted to play. He has repeatedly asked to play “the balance games” and stays engaged with the program for 10-to-15 minutes at a time.
My son was not the most adept at keeping score or prolonging the game, but the graphics are visually appealing enough for him to stay focused on the game and entertained for a while.
The Bobo Balance board is designed as a wellness device for anyone to purchase and use immediately. This device is beneficial for someone looking to improve their overall health in their own home. I would not recommend this to someone with a high falls risk such as prior falls or undiagnosed vestibular issues.
This would also not be recommended to use following injury without contacting your doctor or rehab therapist first if there are any contraindications.
This device will not replace the need for skilled therapy if an individual is having repeated falls or balance difficulties. If there are questions about whether you should use this device, please discuss them with your doctor before purchasing.
The Bobo Balance Board is available on Amazon for $249.00 or $200 if you have an Amazon Prime account. If you order directly from the Bobo-Balance.com site, they can be purchased for $199 plus free shipping. To entice someone further, they offer 10 percent off plus free shipping at the site.
Bobo Pro 2.0
The Bobo Balance Board Pro 2.0 app was released at the beginning of June 2022 as the next iteration of the Bobo balance board products. The user gets all the features of the Bobo Home Balance Board with additional features highlighted below.
After downloading and signing up for an account through the app, the user is brought to three options. They are strength/flexibility, balance, or cycling. As mentioned above, the Pro 2.0 has three straps included that vary in length to perform a variety of other exercises with the use of the Bluetooth sensor.
The sensor to remove is incredibly lightweight, it doesn’t feel much more than an ounce and has Velcro on the backside to attach to the band enclosed to perform the cycling or strengthening exercises.
What is really important to highlight is that the board provides objective feedback through the app. A rehab professional may be able to generally identify that someone lost their balance during an activity or how much assistance they need but having objective measurements such as time duration, accuracy, and side specific movements can only reinforce progress or level of difficulty.
The Bobo Pro 2.0 can be used to hold a patient accountable to their plan of care set by the therapist or to themselves to track progress. What sets this board apart from the previous model is that this can be used for a variety of other exercises as mentioned above. The straps can be used to attach the Bluetooth sensor to any body part and perform a variety of exercises.
Under the custom exercise programming, specific exercises can be selected along with reps and sets. This is no different from any other exercise program, but what sets this apart is the ability to track the range of motion. The user must quickly calibrate the sensor to the body part before starting exercise. There are also easy-to-understand pictures and simple instructions to utilize to limit difficulties normally seen with new technologies.
Watching the range of motion track on the screen in real-time for feedback is excellent for the patient to understand where they are limited and to ensure that the proper motion is being performed.
You can skip the exercise by pressing the “BACK” button on the top-left corner, and then and takes you to the 2 questions screen (pain and fatigue). I was able to move the sensor around in various movement patterns, but the Bluetooth sensor only registered when the correct movement was completed.
There are exercises for every body part and the accuracy is only limited by the user in regards to placement and movement. This sensor can also be used for cycling on a stationary bike to track time, distance, and speed to be stored locally on the app.
This device would be ideal in a variety of settings including rehab facilities, outpatient, and home health for nearly any condition. It could be used simply as another tool for various interventions or assessments as part of a plan of care. The exercise program could be used for someone that needs guidance in exercise but may have limited resources in attending therapy consistently whether it be due to transportation or finances.
What sets the Bobo Pro 2.0 apart from telehealth and in-person care, it is a bridge between the two, allowing the user to be under the care of a licensed professional but limiting the need for in-clinic visits.
Another additional benefit is that the use of the Bobo Pro 2.0 can be billed through telehealth CPT coding, further justifying the use of the board for billable time. A rehab professional can remotely view the progress made on the app, progressing or altering the exercises for maximum benefit. They can also advance protocols already pre-programmed by the therapist or by the app themselves with modifications as needed.
Many therapists have experienced difficulties with patient compliance during the course of direct patient care. This could help increase participation and understand the specific deficits a patient may have, but I do not believe this is a silver bullet to cure patient participation. There must also be clinical judgment used in identifying what patient is appropriate for this device. This should not be a device given to every patient or have a cookie-cutter protocol.
The Bobo Pro 2.0 is an extension of the therapist to improve treatment techniques, but will never outright replace the skilled needs of a therapist.
The Bobo Pro 2.0 can be purchased on the site with the MSRP of $849, but in 2022, they will have this $150 discount, making it $649.00 with free shipping.
-Easy to set up, easy to use. It took under 5 minutes from taking out of the package to using the product for both boards.
-The board is exceptionally responsive to user movements and accurate in user adjustments. It also provides exceptional feedback to ensure proper limb movement to maximize each exercise.
-The apps are simple to use and provide numerous pre-programmed protocols for the user to engage with. It also allows for exercise programs and free play without time limitations or ads popping up.
-Within the app, there is a scoreboard for games and record-keeping for performance scores within the rehab programs. This allows the user to keep track of their progress over time.
-The Bobo Balance Board reminds me of the Nintendo Wii, but a lot more dynamic and simple to use, and very easy to get going.
-Easy to return and satisfaction guaranteed.
-400 hours of continuous use on a Lithium-Ion battery. These batteries are very inexpensive to obtain and easy to replace if the battery does need to be replaced.
-Everything is saved locally on the app to track progress and for rehab professionals, the information can be securely transmitted over a wireless or mobile network later, eliminating the need to be in an area with either service.
-During my user experience, the screen dims on games on iPhone unless the motion is detected when playing a game such as snowboarding or submarine. This could have been a feature of my personal settings on my phone.
-Hard to play on a smaller screen. Would benefit from a bigger screen or tv, I have a cable that gets my iPhone to the TV but it only does vertical screen, can’t get it horizontal, not everyone is going to have a smart TV or the ability to cast. My fear would be that this may deter people from trying to problem solve, especially if dealing with an older, less technology-savvy population.
-I was unable to get the app on a Fire tablet and it wasn’t highlighted that it may not work on every tablet.
-While the cost of one individual board is relatively inexpensive, purchasing multiple boards of the Bobo Pro 2.0 and maintaining them could be cost-prohibitive for smaller clinics.
-As of now, the user is unable to access the app without having the board on which means that they cannot look at results or learn the app without activating the board. (Bobo noted that as updates occur, this will change and remote monitoring will be available to clinicians to view results on smartphones, tablets, or the website.)
This is a wonderful piece of equipment that allows an individual to improve their own health or allows a rehab professional to help more people. The Bobo Home allows a user to work on their own health and target self-identified problem areas within their own home. It is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that is easy to set up and use anywhere. You don’t need to be connected to the internet which increases its potential use anywhere and is easily transported.
Both boards will not replace the possible need for a rehab professional, but rather, enhance the therapist’s ability to treat. The Bobo Pro 2.0 allows for the tracking and feedback under the watchful eye of a professional whereas the Bobo Home is a wellness device, used by anyone.
There will never be a time when therapists will be replaced, but access to effective and professional care is important for the benefit of everyone. This type of technology allows a therapist to reach more individuals.
Sometimes people need the guidance and support of a professional as they work through their own problems. If these types of products can streamline who needs support from a therapist versus who needs more direct patient care, then this can maximize the efficiency and outcomes of both the patient and provider.
The individual buying the board must understand why they are purchasing the product. This isn’t a device that can be bought on a whim or used in place of recommended therapies. When either product is used properly, this can be a fantastic solution to help find a balance between in-clinic care and telehealth options.
I would like to thank Bobo Balance for facilitating this opportunity by asking me to review both products. Technology is quickly advancing within the rehab field and therapists must understand all the potential tools available or they risk being left behind.
Disclosure: There is no financial conflict of interest in performing this review.